Master Manipulator

J has got it down to a science.  Pretty much every day he balks at getting on the bus.  He doesn’t cry, he just puts on stubborn feet and tries to hide behind me.  Often times I have to pick him up and set him on the next to top step so that the bus aide can pull him up into the bus.  His teachers have assured me that he arrives at school happy and ready for the day and that there isn’t an inch of defiance/stubbornness left when he arrives (less than 10 minutes from leaving our driveway.)  Today I got to see it for myself.  As soon as the bus pulled away I realized that I shut my medicine alarm off early today and had forgotten to give him his morning doses.  Not wanting a repeat of the day after Valentines, I put Little J in the car and we raced off to meet the bus at school, hopefully catching him before they shut the gate.  He was still outside when I got there.  He was so ready to go in to the classroom he could barely register that I was there.  He did let me give him his meds but he stayed focused on his teachers and class the whole time.  He didn’t even notice when I left because he was too busy pulling his teacher into the gate.  Makes me feel much less guilty about forcing him on the bus every morning.  For those of you who haven’t been with me since the beginning, I put him on the bus because he cried when I dropped him off.  I’d much rather a little stubbornness than the weeping and trying to run away.

Speaking of weeping…. the poor guy had an awful day at the Dr’s office.  I normally would prepare him days in advance for something like this, but he is a worrier.  He remembers that the last time he went, he also got shots.  that was in July.  So I did mention briefly before school that he wouldn’t get much computer time when he got home because we would go see the Dr. and talk about his head hurting.  So he asks if the Dr. is going to hurt him and I change the subject.  I knew that there was a possibility of a blood draw so I didn’t want to lie to him.  On the way to the Dr. he insists that he is all better and doesn’t need to go.  Basically I have decided that I hate our Ped. and will probably look for another one off base, but I’ll get to that later.  Since the headaches are sort of inconsistent he ordered a head x-ray, a blood draw, and a trip to the optometrist.  So we did the x-ray 1st, it came back with a “something” so we had to take a 2nd one.  Then we went to the lab.  They fought (playfully) in front of me over whose turn it was for a Ped draw.  I assured them from the beginning that he would give them a hard time.  So we got called back after they pulled straws.  The tech puts him in my lap and puts the thing down in front of us.  I was waiting for someone else but she acted as if I could handle him myself.  She wanted me to pin his right arm under my right arm, hold him all the way against my chest, AND use my right hand to hold his upper left arm.  all the while holding the bottom of his left arm with my left hand, and not let him move.  YEAH RIGHT!  So she stuck him, he squirmed, he broke free and she almost freaked out.  She got the needle out and yelled that someone else needed to help her.  so they brought in the guy and he did the whole hug and hold technique while I comforted him by holding my hands over his ears and sympathizing with him and keeping his eyes on mine and not the needle.  WHEW we got through it.  We have a follow up in a week.  In the meantime I still need to make the appointment for the optometrist….which probably will get us nowhere since he will most likely be non-compliant.  I will hope for the best though.

Okay so back to my Pediatrician.  We are assigned Dr.s when we arrive on base.  Before this base we hadn’t had any problems with any of the ones we were assigned.  When I took the boys in July for their well checkups I addressed my concerns about him possibly having asperger’s or autism or adhd or a combination.  He went on and on about how it couldn’t be autism and that he doesn’t like that diagnosis in kids who are so verbal and have eye contact and etc. (insert your favorite stereotype of autism here)  He was pretty quick to dismiss everything but the adhd and recommended we see the psychiatrist for a diagnosis and look into the school district preschool screenings.  We did both.  We have a diagnosis of Autism.  The Psychiatrist said it could swing either autism or aspergers but since they were on the same spectrum and Arizona doesn’t recognize asperger’s as “at risk” he put down Autism so we would be eligible for more aid (which as of now is nothing.)  The Preschool evaluators do not give diagnoses just degrees of delay.  In their terms he is moderately delayed especially in the social category.

So today the Dr. walks in and asks J if “Do you have something to show me?”  J was a little confused at first but when the Dr. asked again J focused in on his magazine sitting across from him and said “yes.”  the Dr. asked, “what is it?”  J says “A magazine.”  “Well what do you want to show me?”  J says, “I’ll show you….” (as he flips pages.)  He flipped through most of it before settling on a page.  It was like the Dr. put him on the spot and J couldn’t figure out what it was that he was suppose to be doing but he was trying to comply.  Based on that conversation and the fact that J changed the pronoun in “show me” to “show you” the Ped says flat out, “that’s not Autism.”  Again he went on his diatribe of how ADHD has some of the same symptoms and that the lack of attention also can cause the social delays and on and on. and that he prefers Doctors to look at ADHD first because it is treatable and autism is not.  He was so glad that J was on medication for the ADHD and that made me mad because I know after talking to another mom that meds are his first defense for hyperactive kids  (her kid was awake for over 2 days after the dose of stimulants he gave him).  I was getting very flustered and frustrated.  I felt like he was accusing me of Munchausen by proxy, that I just exaggerate to make everyone think J has autism.  I DO NOT WISH THAT ON ANYONE.  He saw only a snapshot of J. 

 Oh and when J started repeating a phrase (delayed echolalia) “Stop that you big bully!” in response to the Dr. checking his ears, I said “He’s not  a bully, he’s your Dr.”  To this the Dr. replied to J, “Do kids make fun of you at school?” and J said “yes.”  He then looks at me pointedly and says thats typical for adhd kids to get made fun of and bullied.  (there is no bullying in J’s special classroom)  I told him that I didn’t think that J understood him or knew what that meant.  so he asked how he would know to call him a bully.  “FROM TV”.  After trying to pry into the situation it turns out that J thinks being made fun of is when the teacher tells you to shut the door and not open it when trying to run away from class.  (Apparently he didn’t want snack today and instead tried to leave class.)  So then based on this misunderstanding the Dr. wanted to know if J even knew what a headache was.  I told him that he doesn’t use that word just that his “head hurts.”  I gave him the whole story again and how they are waking him in the night with the pain.  He kept trying to lead me, that maybe J has heard me say my heard hurt and that it garners some kind of sympathy. 

So now not only am I lying about J having Autism but J is lying about having “head hurts”

UUUUGGGGHHHH!  now my head hurts!

Thanks if you stayed with me this long.

10 comments on “Master Manipulator

  1. Pingback: ADHD Report» Blog Archive » Master Manipulator

  2. Okay. A few thoughts. I’m not even going to address the pediatrician because, well, his behavior is inexcusable. Sadly, it’s too common. I just don’t get these doctors and why they don’t take the time to really listen to parents. Ugh!!!

    But the optometrist: we see a developmental optometrist. There’s a difference in terms of expertise. Developmental optometrists specialize in kids with special needs and learning disabilities. They look more closely at whole eye issues, not just vision (i.e. 20/20). My son wears glasses–not because he can’t see (his vision is 20/20)–but because his eyes don’t work well as a team. He has an ocular motor delay. I bring it up only because not many parents are aware of the specialty. You can read more about it here:

    Anyway, hope that helps in some way. And I hope your little guy is feeling better soon.

  3. What a jerk of a dr. I would use stronger language but I am afraid I would break the keyboard. This kind if thing is ridiculous. Yes, I think you need to find another dr. One who is a little more open minded and informed! Hope you find out something about the headaches soon!

    PS…. Chocolate on it’s way soon! We are finally recovering over here….

  4. Hi there. Keep seeing your posts on tag surfer, and had to reply. First, your ped is a jerk. Definitely switch if/when you can. Obviously your child is high functioning and the doc therefore doesn’t recognize it as a case of autism. We’ve had that happen too. It’s too much energy trying to convince someone so ignorant, so I’ve learned to just let those people go.

    Second, have you tried the numbing creme for blood draws? My son used to have 6 people holding him down for blood draws, and while there sometimes still is some angst (last time they couldn’t get a vein in his numbed arm, so they had to do his hand, so trauma all over again), but overall it’s improved the situation dramatically.

    Third, I’m in AZ too. If you need some help navigating the DDD system, let me know. We’ve lived in several places in AZ, and while I don’t want to post where we are, I’m happy to respond to an email from you if you want!

    Good luck!
    (wilddaisy) ( – in case you want to visit!)

  5. “it couldn’t be autism and that he doesn’t like that diagnosis in kids who are so verbal and have eye contact and etc.” Yeah, your doctor sounds like a real idiot. I hope you can get a new one real soon. Don’t be surprised if you have to see several before you get one who knows the facts about Autism.

    Sounds like you have a lot on your plate right now. Headaches are no fun.

    Blood draws did get easier for M over time. I did lots of bribery. I would wrap gifts and take one with us for her to earn after each blood draw. Eventually she did it fine without a gift. I also found that when she was youger and more combative it went well if I sat on the bed or bench and put her between my legs. I then wrapped my legs around her body and held her arms down and leaned back a bit. It worked the best for holding. So difficult, I know. Hang in there.

  6. i am sure your head must be swimming with bright things, dark things, memories and dreams all at the same time, quite often. you and your memories, altered or not, are in my prayers. love that family for me. 🙂

  7. My husband was in the Navy for 12 years and I completely sympathize with you about the doctors. It wasn’t until we got out of the military that my oldest (at age 11) was diagnosed with Asperger’s and Tourette’s. No one had even suggested it before! They had been drugging him with asthma & cough meds since he was 3, and all that time his continuous coughing was a tic!
    My younger 2 boys also have Autistic tendencies and extreme sensory problems… but I’m just a control freak that babies her kids. 🙂
    Having at one point had to fight for a much needed cranial surgery on my then 6mo old baby, my suggestion to you is to go directly to the CO of the hospital, show him your documentation of diagnosis and ask for a new pediatrician or you will get a referral outside the hospital.
    Best of luck, and if it makes you feel any better, the doctors aren’t a lot brighter outside of the military… it was a speech therapist that finally mentioned Autism to me and has been my only support in getting my children medical/educational assistance.
    aka Crazy Mom

  8. Greetings!

    My name is Isabelle and I’m a member of the WEGO Health Community []. I’ve been spending time on your site, and I was taken with your post about your latest trip to the pediatrician. I think anyone’s head would hurt with what you had to go through! I think you’re doing a terrific job by J and he’s very lucky to have you as his mom!

    With your involvement with J’s Autism, I wanted to get in contact with you let you know a little bit about what we’re doing at WEGO Health. Our website recently launched and our mission is to identify, rank, and organize the most helpful health and wellness content online and make it easy to access by everyone.

    Our mission is articulated very nicely here:

    I’m wondering if you would be interested in reviewing the Child Autism [] – related materials on WEGO Health. Please let me know if you think there is a way we may be able to work together.

    Thanks in advance for checking our site and I hope to hear back from you soon. Please feel free to contact me at the email address below.

    Best regards,
    WEGO Health Community
    expert-supported health communities


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